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SPCA officer questioned on Hoskins raid

The credibility of SPCA officer Amy Jaworski took center stage Thursday on the seventh day of the Beth Lynne Hoskins animal cruelty trial, as the defense challenged her testimony about the sanitary conditions at the farm and tried to show the SPCA Serving Erie County acted overzealously in seizing Hoskins' 73 horses.

Objections during the prosecution's questioning of Jaworski in Aurora Town Court led to a heated exchange in which defense attorney Thomas J. Eoannou suggested the witness was committing perjury. After going to the judge's chambers for about 20 minutes, he struck his allegation and apologized.

Jaworski, who participated in the March 18, 2010, raid on the Hoskins property, indicated that she did not believe the seizure of the horses was preplanned. Eoannou's allegations of perjury stemmed from a document dated March 17, 2010, that indicated 29 trucks were available to remove the horses from the farm.

The idea of a preplanned seizure could help Eoannou paint a picture of Hoskins being unfairly targeted. Hoskins is charged with 74 counts of animal cruelty.

Jaworski testified for four hours Thursday. In addition to questioning the development of the search, the defense focused on Jaworski's ability to accurately assess the sanitary conditions in the horse barn and stalls, including the availability of bedding, the wetness level and the accumulation of manure.

Jaworski testified that, to her knowledge, the decision to take Hoskins' horses was a consensus decision made after several SPCA officers and veterinarians finished searching the property and saw the conditions in which the horses lived.

Eoannou questioned Jaworski on photos the prosecution entered into evidence.

He challenged her testimony about the level of wetness and the manure buildup in individual stalls, and whether the photos accurately depicted conditions, since they did not show the entire surface of each stall and the barn.

Jaworski also testified that none of the horses were lying on the ground or visibly injured when she arrived on the scene.

The trial resumes at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday.